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An essential resource for exploring juvenile delinquency in the twenty-first century, Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Control, Fifth Edition, offers a clear and concise overview of the latest theories and research on the causes and control of delinquency.
Instead of attempting to provide a sweeping view of the entire subject, Robert Agnew and new coauthor Timothy Brezina organize the text around three major questions: What is the nature and extent of delinquency? What are the causes of delinquency? What strategies should we employ to control delinquency? These thought-provoking questions draw students into the text, challenging them to use major theories to explain the basic facts about delinquency, to understand the research on its causes, and to develop and evaluate programs and policies for its control.
Robert Agnew is Professor of Sociology at Emory University and Past President of the American Society of Criminology.
Timothy Brezina is Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University.
Table of Contents
An Important Message for Instructors An Overview of This Book Acknowledgments
Part 1. The Nature and Extent of Delinquency
1. What Is Delinquency and How Does It Differ from Adult Crime? Juvenile Delinquents Are Viewed Differently than Adult Criminals Juvenile Delinquents Are Treated Differently than Adult Criminals Special Laws for Juveniles: Status Offenses A Special Court for Juveniles: Juvenile Court Special Correctional Programs for Juveniles How Can We Explain the Invention of Juvenile Delinquency? Changing Conception of Children Major Social Changes, Especially the Growth of Urban Slums Gender, Race, and the Invention of Delinquency Our View and Treatment of Juvenile Offenders Continues to Evolve "Getting Tough" with Juvenile Offenders (Late 1980s through the Early 2000s) Retreating from the Get-Tough Approach (Since the Early 2000s)
2 How Is Delinquency Measured? Official Statistics-Especially Arrest Data from the Police Problems with Arrest Data Self-Report Data How Do We Know That Juveniles Are Telling the Truth? Problems with Many Self-Report Surveys Several Recent Self-Report Surveys Have Made Much Progress in Overcoming the Preceding Problems Victimization Data Problems with Victimization Data
3 How Much Delinquency Is There and Is Delinquency Increasing? How Much Delinquency Is There? How Many Juveniles Are Arrested and What Are They Arrested For? How Much Self-Reported Delinquency Is There? How Many Juveniles Are Victimized and How Many Victimizations Are Committed by Juveniles? Is Juvenile Delinquency Increasing? Are Juvenile Arrests Increasing? Is Self-Reported Delinquency Increasing? Are Victimizations Committed by Juveniles Increasing?
4. Who Is Most Likely to Engage in Delinquency? Is Social Class Related to Delinquency? Early Studies Based on Arrest Data Early Self-Report Studies Criticisms of the Early Self-Report Studies The Later Self-Report Studies Are Race and Ethnicity Related to Delinquency? Arrest Data Criticisms of Arrest Data Self-Report Data Victimization Data Is Race Related to Delinquency? Are Race Differences in Serious Delinquency Explained by Social Class? Is Age Related to Delinquency? Is Gender Related to Delinquency? Arrest Data Self-Report Data Are There Different Types of Delinquents? An Overview of the Research on the Different Types of Delinquents What Are the Different Types of Delinquents?
Part 2. The Causes of Delinquency: Theories
5. What Is a Theory and How Do We Test Theories? What Is a Theory? What Are the Basic Parts of a Theory? Why Is It Important to Study Theories of Delinquency? How Do We Test Theories of Delinquency (or Determine Whether Some Factor Causes Delinquency)? The Scientific Method Carefully Define Your Independent and Dependent Variables Decide How to Gather Data to Test Your Belief or Theory Develop Measures of Your Independent and Dependent Variables Select a Sample of Juveniles to Survey Analyze the Data You Have Collected
6. Strain Theory What Are the Major Types of Strain? The Failure to Achieve Your Goals Loss of Positive Stimuli/Presentation of Negative Stimuli What Impact Does Strain Have on the Juvenile? Why Are Some Juveniles More Likely to Cope with Strain Through Delinquency?
7. Social Learning Theory Juveniles Learn to Engage in Delinquency from Others The Differential Reinforcement of Delinquency The Frequency, Amount, and Relative Probability of Reinforcement Positive and Negative Reinforcement Punishment The Sources of Reinforcement and Punishment Some Individuals Are More Likely to Be Reinforced for Delinquency than Others Intermittent Reinforcement Discriminative Stimuli Research on the Reinforcement and Punishment of Delinquency Beliefs Favorable to Delinquency Generally Approve of Minor Delinquency Conditionally Approve of Delinquency, Including Some Serious Delinquency General Values Conducive to Delinquency Where Do the Beliefs Favorable to Delinquency Come From? The Imitation of Delinquent Models
8. Control Theory Why Do Juveniles Conform (and Sometimes Deviate)? How Is Control Theory Similar to and Different from Social Learning Theory? What Are the Major Types of Control (or Restraints to Delinquency)? Direct Control Stake in Conformity Belief Self-Control
9. Labeling Theory Background on Labeling Theory How Do Others React to the Juvenile's Delinquency? Harsh/Rejecting Reaction Failure to Respond to the Juvenile's Delinquency "Condemn the Delinquency but Accept the Juvenile" Reaction Why Does the Harsh/Rejecting Reaction Lead to Further Delinquency? Reduces Control Increases Strain Increases the Social Learning of Delinquency Creates a Delinquent Self-Concept What Determines Whether Juveniles Experience the Harsh/Rejecting Reaction? Are Some Juveniles More Likely than Others to Respond to the Harsh/Rejecting Reaction with Further Delinquency? The Evidence on Labeling Theory
10. The Life Course Why Do Most Individuals Increase Their Levels of Offending During Adolescence? The Biological and Social Changes Associated with Adolescence A Reduction in Control An Increase in the Social Learning for Crime An Increase in Strain Why Do a Small Percentage of Individuals Offend at High Rates over Much of Their Lives? Traits Conducive to Crime Poor Parenting High Rates of Offending over the Life Course
11. Is Delinquency More Likely in Certain Types of Situations? What Types of Situations Are Most Conducive to Delinquency? Strain Theory: Situational Strains Strain Theory: Situational Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Delinquent Coping Social Learning and Control Theories: The Benefits and Costs of Delinquency Attractive Targets Question for discussion The Absence of Capable Guardians The Presence of Delinquent Peers What Factors Influence the Likelihood That Predisposed Offenders Will Encounter Situations Conducive to Delinquency? The Nature of the Individual's Routine Activities Factors Influencing Routine Activities
12. Group Differences in Delinquency Why Are Crime Rates Higher in Some Communities than in Others? What Are the Characteristics of High-Crime Neighborhoods and Cities? Are Communities with Characteristics Conducive to Crime Becoming More Common? Why Are Deprived Communities Higher in Crime? Deprived Communities Are Higher in Strain Deprived Communities Are Lower in Control Deprived Communities Foster the Social Learning of Crime Community Crime Rates Reduce Control, Foster the Social Learning of Crime, and Increase Strain Overview of the Leading Theories of Delinquency
Part 3. The Causes of Delinquency: Research
13. Individual Traits Are Juveniles with Certain Traits More Likely to Engage in Delinquency? Low Verbal IQ Low Self-Control Irritability Why Are Some Individuals More Likely than Others to Possess These Traits? Biological Influences on Traits Environmental Influences on Traits Is Mental Illness Related to Violence?
14. The Family The Effect of the Family on Delinquency Family Structure Are Juveniles from Broken Homes More Delinquent? Does the Mother's Employment Outside the Home Increase Delinquency? Does Placing Juveniles in Child-Care Facilities Increase the Likelihood of Delinquency? Are Teenage Parents More Likely to Have Delinquent Children? Are Juveniles from Large Families More Delinquent? Parental and Sibling Crime/Deviance Are Juveniles with Criminal or Deviant Parents and Siblings More Likely to Be Delinquent? The Quality of Family Relationships Are Juveniles With Warm or Close Relationships with Their Parents Less Delinquent? Parental Socialization What Should Parents Do to Teach Their Children to Avoid Delinquency? What Should Parents Do to Teach Their Children to Engage in Conventional Behavior?
15. The School What School Experiences Contribute to Delinquency? Do School Experiences Cause Delinquency? Why Do Some Juveniles Have Negative School Experiences? School Characteristics and Delinquency How Much Delinquency Occurs at School? How Can We Explain School Differences in Delinquency?
16. Delinquent Peers and Gangs What Impact Do Delinquent Peers Have on Delinquency? Under What Conditions Are Delinquent Peers Most Likely to Cause Delinquency? What Are Delinquent Peer Groups Like? Why Are Individuals in Delinquent Groups More Likely to Engage in Delinquency? Why Are Some Juveniles More Likely than Others to Get Involved with Delinquent Peers? What Impact Do Gangs Have on Delinquency? What Is a Street Gang? How Common Are Gangs? Are Gangs Becoming More Common? What Effect Do Gangs Have on Crime and Delinquency? What Are the Characteristics of Gang Members? How Are Gangs Organized or Structured? What Are Female Gangs Like? Why Do Some Juveniles Join Gangs? Why Do Some Communities Develop Gangs? How Can We Explain Trends in Gang Activity Since the 1970s?
17. Other Social Influences Does Religion Reduce Delinquency? The Evidence Does Work Reduce Delinquency Among Juveniles Attending School? The Evidence Does Mass Media Violence Cause Violence Among Juveniles? TV and Movie Violence Violent Video Games Music with Violent Themes Does Social Media Engagement Increase the Risk of Delinquent Behavior? The Evidence Summary Do Drugs Increase the Likelihood of Delinquency? Reasons That Drugs May Affect Delinquency The Evidence Do Guns Increase the Likelihood of Delinquency? How Common Is Gun Ownership and Possession Among Juveniles? Do Guns Contribute to Delinquency? Do Guns Prevent More Crime than They Contribute To?
18. Pulling It All Together A Brief Review of the Theories and Research on the Causes of Delinquency Theories Research A General Theory of Delinquency The Major Direct Causes of Individual Delinquency and the Reasons Why These Causes Affect Delinquency How These Clusters Are Related to One Another Biological Factors and the Larger Social Environment Affect the Clusters Explaining Patterns of Offending over the Life Course and Group Differences in Delinquency Using the General Theory to Explain Why Males Have Higher Rates of Delinquency than Females The Special Role of Sexual Abuse in Explaining Serious Female Offending An Overview of the General Theory of Delinquency
Part 4. The Control and Prevention of Delinquency 19. Policies and Programs The Experimental Model for Determining Program Effectiveness The Importance of Doing Randomized Experiments Problems in Doing Randomized Experiments What If One Is Not Able to Do a Randomized Experiment? Why Are Some Programs Ineffective at Reducing Delinquency?
20. The Police How Do the Police Operate? Preventive Patrol Is the Major Type of Policing The Police Spend Only a Small Amount of Their Time Dealing with Crime The Police Are Primarily Reactive in Nature When the Police Do Discover or Hear About a Crime, They Usually Do Not Catch the Offender If the Police Do Catch the Offender, They Usually Do Not Arrest the Person How Effective Is Preventive Patrol? How Can the Police Increase Their Effectiveness? Will Hiring More Police Reduce Delinquency? Will Police Crackdowns Reduce Delinquency? Will Community Policing Reduce Delinquency?
21. Juvenile Court and Corrections What Happens When Juveniles Are Sent to Juvenile Court? What Are the Major Goals of Juvenile Court? How Many and What Types of Cases Are Handled by Juvenile Court? What Are the Major Stages in the Juvenile Court Process? Juvenile Corrections: What Happens to Juveniles Who Receive a Disposition or Sentence from the Court? Regular Probation Intermediate Sanctions A Renewed Focus on Rehabilitation Out-of-Home Placements Aftercare Services An Overview of the Juvenile Justice Process
22. The Juvenile Justice System Does the Juvenile Justice System Discriminate Against African Americans? The Extent of Discrimination Varies Across Police Departments and Juvenile Courts The Extent of Discrimination May Vary by Type of Crime Small Amounts of Discrimination at Different Points in the Juvenile Justice Process Can Have a Large Overall Effect Racial Discrimination May Be Direct or Indirect What Can Be Done to Address the Over-Representation of Minorities in the Juvenile Justice System? Does the Juvenile Justice System Discriminate Against the Poor and Against Males or Females?
23. The Strategies of Deterrence and Incapacitation Are the Juvenile Court and Correctional System Tough Enough in Dealing with Offenders, Especially Serious Offenders? Efforts to Get Tough with Serious Offenders Get-Tough Efforts How Effective Are These Get-Tough Measures, and What Can Be Done to Increase Their Effectiveness? Deterrence Specific Deterrence General Deterrence Incapacitation: Will Locking Up Delinquents Reduce Delinquency?
24. The Strategies of Prevention and Rehabilitation A Brief History of Prevention and Rehabilitation How Effective Are Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs? General Characteristics of Effective Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs What Are the Characteristics of Successful Prevention/Rehabilitation Programs in Different Areas? Programs Focusing on the Early Family Environment Parent Training Programs Programs Focusing on School Factors Programs Focusing on Individual Traits Programs Focusing on Delinquent Peers and Gangs Selected Other Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs The Critical Role of Larger Social Forces in Preventing Delinquency
25. What Should We Do to Reduce Delinquency? We Should Place More Emphasis on Prevention and Rehabilitation We Should Hold Juveniles Accountable for Their Behavior and Protect the Community
References Photo Credits Author Index Subject Index